New Reminiscence Café launches at Arboretum during Dementia Awareness Week

On Friday 19 May, the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire will host its first Memory Lane Café, during Dementia Awareness Week, providing a new forum for people living with dementia, carers, and their friends and family. The free of charge session will run from 10.30am to 12.00pm, using objects to stimulate senses and aid people in recalling prior experiences.

It is not uncommon for people living with dementia to become isolated and withdrawn, resulting in a deterioration in their ability to communicate. Initiatives like Memory Lane Café create a safe and relaxing environment that can facilitate engagement between attendees because of the shared understanding of circumstances. In addition, several team members from the Arboretum have become Dementia Friends with the Alzheimer’s Society’s programme, the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to deliver change in how people think, act and talk about the condition.

This new free of charge initiative at the Arboretum is planned to take place on the third Friday of each month. Each session will be based around a theme, and will use donated images and objects from the 1940s,1950s, and 1960s. The first of these themes will look at Spring flowers along with folklore, customs, traditions and superstitions, including May Day celebrations. Attendees will also take part in small craft projects; this month making a model of a maypole complete with ribbons.

Those wishing to attend Memory Lane Café must phone 01283 245100 to secure a place as space is extremely limited. Attendees will receive a free car parking voucher for the day of their visit and vouchers that will entitle everyone in their party to a hot drink and cake at a reduced price of £3.95. A waiting list will be operation and extra sessions may be organised dependent on demand.

Paula Kovacs, Inclusion Officer at the National Memorial Arboretum, said: “I’m delighted that we are offering this new ongoing programme to support people living with dementia, and those who work closely with them. The National Memorial Arboretum is the nation’s focal centre of Remembrance, and as a result we have access to an amazing trove of historic artefacts that will help Memory Lane Café visitors reminisce about earlier times in their life.”

Angela Cullimore Todd, Head of Care at The Royal British Legion, said: “There are over 700,000 people in the UK with dementia and over the next 30 years this is expected to double. However, by uniting together and raising awareness, offering help and understanding we can improve care and encourage people to live positively with dementia. This new National Memorial Arboretum event is a stepping stone to support those living with dementia and also their carers within the local area. It provides a chance to interact with others in similar situations and all within a unique, calm and welcoming environment.

“The Legion recognises the need of dedicated care for its beneficiaries and their carers that are living with dementia and we will continue to provide and expand services throughout our Admiral Nurse home support for carers, as well as within our dedicated residential dementia wings within four of our care homes and through our external grants programmes.”



Andrew Baud, National Memorial Arboretum, 020 3397 3383 or


The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is the UK’s year-round Centre for Remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country.

The Arboretum is part of The Royal British Legion and has 30,000 maturing trees and 330 memorials. In October 2016, it opened a £15.7m Remembrance Centre, following a major fundraising campaign supported by numerous individuals and organisations, including Staffordshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Situated on land gifted by Tarmac, the Arboretum is also home to the striking Armed Forces Memorial which commemorates those who have been killed on duty or as a result of terrorism from the end of the Second World War to the present time.

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